Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are Elemental Creatures in Magic?
In Magic, creatures bearing the elemental subtype come in all shapes and sizes, making them a versatile bunch. Elementals are generally higher-cost creatures, but they compensate with impressive combat stats and traits including trample, +1/+1 counters, and other unique effects.
10 Best Elemental Cards
While elementals are seen across all five colors, they slightly favor the green and red factions. But with hundreds of nature-crafted monsters running amok, which troops are most worth your time? These are the ten best elemental cards in Magic: The Gathering!
- Horde of Notions
- Elderwood Scion
- Voice of Resurgence
- Maelstrom Wanderer
- Animar, Soul of Elements
- Omnath, Locus of Mana
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 6
At first glance, Primalcrux's strict adherence to green mana seems off-putting, as it makes him hard to wield in decks that aren't monogreen. However, in his element, he shines; Primalcrux gains power and toughness equal to the number of forest symbols in the mana costs of permanents you control—including himself!
Thus, he should always have at least 6/6 stats (and possibly much more), and his trample ability lets him pierce excess battle damage to your opponent. Tip: Combo Primalcrux's abundant mana symbols with the green devotion effects of cards like "Nylea, God of the Hunt" and "Karametra's Acolyte."
9. Horde of Notions
As a legendary creature with all five mana colors, Horde makes a good commander for players building a rainbow deck, and he bears a hearty 5/5 stats. Like Primalcrux, Horde bears trample, but he also possesses the haste and vigilance traits; the former lets him swing the turn he arrives while the latter lets him attack without tapping.
A 5/5 beatstick with three keywords already impresses, and as an extra bonus, Horde can spend one mana from each color to play an elemental from your graveyard without paying its cost! Use this to revive vanquished allies, offering a nice discount on the most expensive elemental members.
8. Elderwood Scion
Another five-cost creature, Elderwood Scion only needs white and green mana for his casting, and he arrives with a sturdy 4/4 stats. Scion also possesses the ever-useful trample as well as lifelink, letting him recover you a corresponding amount of health whenever he deals combat damage.
Scion also harnesses a unique ability that forces opponents to pay two extra mana when targeting him with spells, while your spells that target him cost two less! This often renders your opponent unable to afford removals while making it disgustingly easy for you to attach powerful green and white auras to your already-fierce beast.
Guile costs a hefty six mana, but at least he only needs a single land type (blue's islands), and he joins the fray with a fierce 6/6 stats. His first effect renders him unblockable except by three or more creatures, making it difficult to intercept his blows.
However, Guile's real treat lies in his second effect, which exiles any spells you counter and lets you cast them for free! Thankfully, the blue faction bears several powerful counterspells, and Guile adds insult to their injury by not only negating opposing tactics, but now playing them against your adversary. A daunting troop, but note that Guile shuffles himself into your deck if sent to the graveyard, so you won't be able to gimmick him with graveyard revivals.
6. Voice of Resurgence
Like Scion, Voice of Resurgence is a multicolored green and white blend, but he's surprisingly affordable, costing just two mana. Admittedly, Resurgence's stats are similarly scaled to 2/2, but that's still a fair trade for his low price.
Resurgence offers an excellent continuous effect that punishes foes for casting spells during your turn; whenever they do, you create a green and white elemental creature token with power and toughness equal to the number of creatures you control. These tokens strengthen as you swarm, greatly discouraging foes from interrupting your rounds, and you also get one when Resurgence dies, softening the blow if he ever falls.
5. Maelstrom Wanderer
Maelstrom's high resource drain may dissuade, but his fierce powers more than justify his price. For his cost, he wields a decent 7/5 stats, and he grants all creatures you control (including himself) haste, preventing you from waiting to attack or tap.
Better yet, Maelstrom activates not one but two instance of the rare cascade effect, letting you randomly search and cast two cheaper spells from your deck when you cast him. He's a bit unpredictable, but his free units and reliable haste rank him among the game's best cascade units.
Bearing both the elemental and spirit subtypes, Malignus represents one of Magic's strongest creatures. You see, his effect matches his power and toughness to the highest life total among your opponents (rounding up). Against lifegain decks or full-health adversaries in formats like EDH, this means he can amass a whopping 20/20 (or more) stats!
Of course, his power will dwindle as you damage your foe and edge closer to victory, but by that time, your other units should be able to seize the win. As a final bonus, damage from Malignus can't be prevented, letting him hurt even foes with protection from red or other damage-blocking barriers. Malignus is an easy pick for many of my red decks, and he's one of today's cheapest cards, often costing well under five dollars!
Vigor requires a sizable six mana, but green's ramping and free-creature gimmicks can field him sooner than you might think. He enjoys an intimidating 6/6 stats alongside trample, and I appreciate how his CMC is divided between green and colorless symbols, letting him improve your devotion to green while giving enough leeway for multicolor decks.
Like Guile, when he's moved to the graveyard, you have to shuffle him into your deck, but Vigor offers an astonishing defense to your other creatures: you not only prevent all injuries they would suffer, but add a +1/+1 counter to them for each damage blocked! This amazing shield punishes your foes for harming your units (often letting you swing through without being blocked), and it even defends against effect damage. Use potent artifact equipment cards like "Lightning Greaves" or "Swiftfoot Boots" to grant Vigor shroud or hexproof, preventing your opponent from targeting him and maintaining your guard.
2. Animar, Soul of Elements
Legendary Animar carries puny 1/1 stats for his three-cost entrance, but his trio of awesome abilities pick up the slack. First, he bears protection against both black and white, granting him several defenses and making him unblockable by corresponding units. Next, he gains a +1/+1 counter whenever you cast a creature spell, quickly improving his lackluster power.
Finally, creatures you play cost one less colorless mana for each +1/+1 counter on Animar, making him an excellent support unit for quickly fielding your aces. Animar remains one of my favorite commanders in EDH, and his three colors offers a nice balance between deck variety ant not running the risk of drawing the wrong land types. But if you're looking for a monocolor elemental . . .
1. Omnath, Locus of Mana
Like Animar, Omnath's a three-cost creature with an initially-weak 1/1 power and toughness. However, he lets you store green mana even as phases and turns end, stockpiling your resources for usage on future turns! As if that weren't enough, Omnath also gets +1/+1 for each green mana in your pool, quickly turning him into a daunting beatstick.
Omnath remains my all-time favorite monogreen commander, and his engorged stats often allow for a commander damage win. He's not the cheapest card, costing around $20, but he'll serve you well in any competitive format. He also bears an alternate red/green form called "Omnath, Locus of Rage" that's worth a look.
How to Support Elemental Creatures in Magic
Though not nearly as conjoined as types like vampires or elves, elementals still offer a number of ways to support their clan. For instance, "Smokebraider" can tap for two mana that must be spent on elementals, "Brighthearth Banneret" reduces the mana cost of both your elemental and warrior cards, and "Flamekin Harbinger" can search an elemental to the top of your deck.
Still, the king of supporters remains "Incandescent Soulstoke," who boosts other elementals' stats and taps to play one from your hand for free (though you sacrifice them at the end of the turn). Use these troops to further advance your themed deck, but for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of powerful elementals, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on June 08, 2020:
Definitely, but I didn't count Nissa since she isn't an elemental, she just makes elemental tokens.
Unknown on June 08, 2020:
Isn't Nissa Vastwood Seer a good card